Thursday, December 23, 2010

RL vs. WoW: Grudgematch!

In this corner, weighing in at a whopping all of your responsibilities, the Flayer of Fun, Waster of Weekends, the Annihilator of Amusement... REAL LIFE!

And in this corner, clocking at at a respectable 347 hours played, the Dodger of Duty, Saver of Sanity, Breaker of Boredom... WoW!

How do you balance your real life responsibilities with your hobbies? For most hobbyists, which is what I consider wow players, their hobby takes a chunk of their time but not what it takes to have an active raiding life in WoW. Staying current with gear, farming enough gold for repair bills/consumables and keeping up with strats can be a significant time investment and this doesn't even count setting aside time for raid nights. So with a list of chores, a screaming kid and work looming just past another night of not enough sleep how do you find time for it all?

To be 100% honest... you don't. In the end WoW is a game and shouldn't take away from your real life. If raiding, or anything really, is preventing you from being a good spouse/parent/child/student/employee then your priorities are way out of whack and we need to have a serious discussion. Raiding for the busy isn't always an option. Sometimes you have to evaluate things and decide where you need to reduce efforts and the first thing to go should be raiding.

The primary reason for this should be so you can spend more energy taking care of your family and yourself. For those of you who aren't the family type you can't allow WoW to be something that holds you back from achieving more. I learned this lesson the hard way.

Back in the late 90's, a time shrouded in the hazy memory of college, a little game called Starcraft came out. Hopelessly addicted I jammed the sweet sweet zerg nectar straight into my veins and didn't leave my dorm room except for food and the occasional party. My grades suffered. I was eventually placed on Academic Suspension and missed and entire year of college. Starcraft wasn't the only reason I flunked out that year but it was a contributing factor. If I had the discipline to put the CraftPipe down I would have been able to at least maintain my "underachiever but still here" status. I flunked out of college, wasted a few thousand dollars in tuition all for a few late nights of alien slaughtering.

Fortunately that little experience snapped me out of my adolescent dithering and I focused. Today I am a successful, hard working son of a biscuit with a full head of hair, dashing good looks and a wife who could be mistaken for a supermodel. I was extremely lucky to have my experience with Starcraft. Without it I'm sure WoW would have long ago consumed my soul and I would be a large sweaty thirty-something living in the room I grew up in and logging 40+ hours per week in Azeroth.

Now I'm not saying to give up WoW. Leisure is an important part of human existence and if you are spending every waking moment working in some fashion or another then you're not taking care of yourself and will be of no use to anyone when you have a breakdown and run through the streets naked screaming about "The squirrel army and it's armadillo brethren are coming for your toes!"... wait... I might have been channeling some of the hazier parts of college there, but I digress. Some time has to be put aside for you to be you and enjoy life and if part of that is WoW then there's nothing wrong with that. I try my best not to get into relationship advice but if your significant other wants you to completely give up your hobby then, in my humble opinion, they are showing very little regard for you. On the other hand if they are asking for a little more of your time and you refuse due to your strict raiding schedule then, once again in my humble opinion, you're being an ass.

Raiding takes commitment. Not doing the time-consuming prep work is like a player on a baseball team not showing up for practice but expecting to get to play on game day. Sorry but if you don't put in the ground work you ride the pine. If you can't commit the time to raiding and everything that comes with it then it is selfish to expect a raid spot. You become a liability for 9 or 24 other players. Why should their night be ruined because you can't commit the time. I really enjoy raiding, it's one of my favorite things to do. There's challenge, excitement, reward and socialising, what's not to love! I will not, however, detract from a friend's experience if I can't pull my own weight. When my life gets too hectic and my raid-time has to get thrown out the window I let my friends and guildies know that I won't be able to raid until I can devote more time to it.

I really like WoW. I enjoy playing it, talking about it, blogging about it and having friends who enjoy these same addictions.


I love my wife and family.
I love having a job that can support us.
I love going home from work every day knowing I did a good job.
I love snuggling up next to my wife at night knowing I've done right by her.
That, my friends, is worth all the pixelated purples in existence.

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